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    Posted January 10, 2014 by

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    Phl senator seeks probe on power rate hike

    PHILIPPINE Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV on Friday filed Senate Resolution No. 411 seeking an investigation into the pending big-time and record increase in electricity cost charged by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco).
    Trillanes said “Republic Act No. 9136 or the EPIRA Law was enacted in 2001 to implement reforms in the energy sector, including assurance of the quality, reliability, security and affordability of the supply of electric power in the country.
    “However, the proposed increase in the generation cost of Meralco runs counter to this purpose of the aforesaid law,” Trillanes lamented.
    He explained: “Added to this problem are the reports of the alleged collusion among power plants and the unusual number of power outages during the Malampaya shutdown which put into question the validity of the said proposal.”
    The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Monday approved the implementation of the said hike amounting to more than P4 per kilowatt hour, the highest in the country’s history, which will be distributed in three tranches.
    The first and biggest tranche is an increase in the amount of P2.41 per kilowatt hour expected to be reflected in the December billing; while the second in the amount of P1.21 per kilowatt hour to be reflected in February, while the third in the amount of P0.53 per kilowatt hour to be reflected in March. In addition to this, other components are also expected to increase such as VAT, local franchise tax, and transmission charge.
    According to Meralco, the said price hike is due to the increase in generation charges triggered by the scheduled maintenance shutdown of Malampaya natural gas platform, where it sources bulk of its power requirements. This was compounded by the outage of other plants where Malampaya sources its power from.
    “It is incumbent upon the Senate, through the Senate Committee on Energy and other appropriate Senate committees, to protect public interest and safeguard the rights of consumers from alleged unjust financial burden and abuse of the law, especially at a time when the country is still reeling from a string of natural and man-made catastrophes,” Trillanes pointed out.
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